AROUND the middle of the night on Friday, a shooting incident occurred at a bar at the corner of Tavera St. and Camus St. The incident resulted in the death of one person and the detainment of another.

Beyond the effects on both the families of the victim and the suspect, the incident will also affect the bar as it announces its temporary closure. This will negatively affect the bar workers who were just there to earn an honest living.

It should be noted that this incident, which the authorities call an isolated case, is the first of its kind in Davao City in a very long time. Previously, reported incidents at bars were just brawls that were quickly pacified.

This begs the question, should there be strict measures for bars, whether temporary or permanent? Following the incident, some would definitely say yes. However, there are others who would say that there is nothing wrong with how things are right now.

Currently, if our memory serves us right, there is no ordinance that fully regulates bars. However, there are policies or orders that affect certain aspects of bar operations in the city.

One of the landmark ordinances is the existing liquor ban in Davao City. Under Ordinance No. 004-30 series of 2013, the city's liquor ban is from 1 a.m. to 8 a.m. The selling, serving or consuming of liquor and any other alcoholic and intoxicating drinks in public shall be prohibited during this time period. The last order for liquor for most bars is at 12 midnight or at 12:30 a.m.

Another possible set of policies that are currently regulating bars is the government's Covid-19 regulations. Depending on the Alert Level and Covid-19 situation, bars may be allowed to operate at a limited capacity or totally closed temporarily.

There are also rules and measures that some bars implement to ensure the safety of their patrons -- not allowing the bringing of firearms, and the presence of bouncers, to name a few.

We could say that the current rules in place were enough to make bar-going safe.

However, since the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, it does seem that crowds at bars are observably quite big. And a large crowd is a risk to some extent. If not managed properly, a brawl could break out among intoxicated customers, putting others at risk.

Probably a stricter gun regulation for bars can be put in place to prevent shootings at bars. An intoxicated person with a gun is dangerous. Another could be raising the age of bar-goers who are allowed to drink alcoholic beverages. In some countries, the minimum age to drink is 20, 21, or 25 years old. Here in the Philippines, it is 18 years old.

Maybe, it is time that we take a look and review the policies we have in place when it comes to clubs and bars to ensure the safety of the customers, businesses, and workers. Hopefully, the city and the bar owners can come together to find a well-rounded policy to make nightlife in the city safer.